Madrigal (160a)

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Que maudit soit le mirouër qui vous mire
Et vous fait estre ainsi fiere en beauté,
Ainsi enfler le cœur de cruauté,
Me refuzant le bien que je desire !
 
Depuis trois ans pour vos yeux je souspire :
Et si mes pleurs, ma Foy, ma Loyauté
N’ont, ô destin ! de vostre cœur osté
Ce doux orgueil qui cause mon martire.
 
Et ce-pendant vous ne cognoissez pas
Que ce beau mois et vostre âge se passe,
Comme une fleur qui languit contre-bas,
Et que le temps passé ne se ramasse.
 
Tandis qu’avez la jeunesse et la grace,
Et le temps propre aux amoureux combas,
Des doux plaisirs ne soyez jamais lasse,
Et sans aimer n’attendez le trespas.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Cursed be the mirror which reflects you
                                                                            And makes you proud in your beauty,
                                                                            And puffs up your heart with cruelty,
                                                                            Refusing me the good things I desire!
 
                                                                            For three years I have been sighing over your eyes;
                                                                            And yet my tears, my faithfulness, my loyalty
                                                                            Have not – o destiny! – lifted from your heart
                                                                            That sweet pride which causes my suffering.
 
                                                                            Nevertheless you do not recognise
                                                                            That this fair month and your age is passing by
                                                                            Like a flower which wilts over there,
                                                                            And that time passed cannot be recovered.
 
                                                                            Since you have youth and grace
                                                                            And the time is right for love’s combats,
                                                                            Never be weary of sweet pleasures
                                                                            And do not, loveless, await death.

 

 
 
 A madrigal is, in Ronsard’s terms, a sonnet with some extra lines: here, though it transforms the sonnet into a 4-stanza poem, you will note that the underlying sonnet rhyme-scheme is maintained, with the last two ‘stanzas’ expanded tercets structured differently from the opening quatrains.  I must add, this poem has a very satifying ‘arc’ from beginning to end, as well. The only real weak point is where Ronsard resorts to an exclamation in line 7; it’s relevant that this is also the only place he made a change from the earlier version in Blanchemain, which has an even weaker exclamation:  “N’ont, las ! je meurs ! de vostre cœur osté …” (‘Have not – alas, I am dying! – lifted from your heart …’).
 

 

 

 
 
 
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About fattoxxon

Who am I? Lover of all sorts of music - classical, medieval, world (anything from Africa), world-classical (Uzbek & Iraqi magam for instance), and virtually anything that won't be on the music charts... Lover of Ronsard's poetry (obviously) and of sonnets in general. Reader of English, French, Latin & other literature. And who is Fattoxxon? An allusion to an Uzbek singer - pronounce it Patahan, with a very plosive 'P' and a throaty 'h', as in 'khan')

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